Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Sarah Abel, DNP, RN, CEN, FAEN
Nurse and runner-turned-yoga-enthusiast finds her calling during the pandemic. Sarah Abel, DNP, RN, CEN, FAEN, is the Director of Educational Resources, Global Initiatives, and Marketplace at Sigma.
Your body tells you what you need, you just have to listen.
That’s what a lifetime of physical activity has taught Sarah Abel, DNP, RN, CEN, FAEN. It started when she was a twenty-something runner and triathlete, spending hours training and running. Despite the many health benefits, the high-impact exercise wreaked havoc on her knee. Sarah ended up having knee surgery and quit running — but she was determined to stay active.
That’s when she decided to join a yoga studio.
“I fell in love with the way I felt when I walked out of a yoga class,” said Sarah. “It gave me time to reflect, move my body, and connect with my breath and mind.”
Over the last 20 years, Sarah has pursued many different types of yoga and learned all about health for body and mind — especially what it means to be mindful. Over the years, as mindfulness and yoga’s popularity grew, so did Sarah’s interest in them.
Opportunity In a Pandemic
Enter 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone were the days of going to the yoga studio to move her body and unwind. Sarah needed a new way to practice her favorite exercise. Because many in-person events and activities were shut down, virtual became a new way of life. And that opened up a door for Sarah, who had always wanted to earn her yoga instructorship.
Prior to the pandemic, becoming a yoga instructor meant going to in-person classes held over long periods of time. The certifying body didn’t previously allow for virtual training. And prior to the pandemic, Sarah’s job required traveling, making becoming an instructor nearly impossible.
After things moved virtual, Sarah was able to complete the yoga instructor courses online. Now, she teaches yoga at a local gym, at her workplace, and virtually as a way to stay in touch with long-distance family members. She also teaches yoga classes online.
And even though Sarah was thrilled to become a yoga instructor, she wanted to do more during the pandemic. The pandemic caused her position at Sigma as Director of Educational Resources, Global Initiatives, and Marketplace to go remote, and she wasn’t caring for patients in a healthcare setting as she had done in previous roles. That’s when Sarah realized her role as a yoga instructor could help people in a different way.
“I feel like becoming a yoga instructor is another way I can fulfill my vision and mission for my life,” said Sarah. “Being a servant leader and not serving on the frontlines through COVID, I realized there were other things I could do to serve my community and the mental and physical struggles they were faced with during the pandemic.”
Today, there are times Sarah feels mentally frustrated or overwhelmed with other areas of life. She credits the people around her for motivating her to stay active and keep moving forward. Her fiancé, who is also a nurse, encourages her to go to a fitness class or teach yoga — and Sarah always returns feeling confident and refreshed.
She also stays motivated with help from her two children.
“I don’t want my kids to see me make the decision to not live for them,” said Sarah. “My Dad was my hero, but I wish all the time that he would’ve made the choice to take better care of himself. He passed away from a stroke at 53 and didn’t get to see his grandkids.”
There’s so much that nurses can do to prioritize themselves and live healthier, happier lives. Sarah suggests:
- Know your why: Take a 60,000-foot view of what you really want from your life. Change the lens you look through, so you can keep moving forward.
- Find your support system: Place yourselves around those who will hold you accountable for living a healthy lifestyle.
- Inhale confidence, exhale self-doubt: Face fear head-on and don’t allow self-doubt to stop you in your pursuit of your vision and mission. Make your pursuit stronger than your self-doubt.
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This is so inspiring Sarah! Inhale confidence Exhale self-doubt....so much YES! Let's all keep reminding each other as nurses to follow our hearts and our dreams and surround ourselves with those who believe in us.